A Guide to Outsourcing Records Management

Elizabeth Barber (Kent County Council)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




Barber, E. (2011), "A Guide to Outsourcing Records Management", Records Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 164-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/09565691111152107



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

As financial constraints bite in both the public and private sector organisations will come under more and more pressure to make savings and to work more efficiently. As office estate is reduced and storage space becomes more limited, outsourcing records management will become a priority in many organisations. This book is a beginner's guide to outsourcing records management. It is not designed for project managers or for experienced procurement managers, but for records managers finding their way through the challenges which outsourcing such a vital function as records management will bring. Divided into bite‐sized chunks, the book can be read in a few hours and is equally applicable to public and private sector records managers.

So many of the standard texts on outsourcing are written in language which is incomprehensible to the beginner, so it is refreshing that this book is written in plain English. The book covers all the basic steps that individual records managers need to take to prepare for outsourcing, works through the different steps in the process and lays out some of the questions which need to be asked of other people in the organisation. In the beginning, I was disappointed that a large chunk of the book was taken up looking at the legal steps in the procurement process. Most organisations have their own procurement managers, and in the age of Google, much of this information could be gleaned from elsewhere. However, the more I considered this, the more it became clear that this book will assist records managers to understand what they don't know about the procurement process and will enable them to ask the right questions of the procurement teams to ensure that they have input at every stage of the process. The discussion of stakeholders at the beginning of the book highlights the need for the records manager to have a clear understanding of how their own particular organisation works.

The book deals in detail with the creation, implementation and maintenance of record retention schedules. Successful outsourcing relies on the management of records being a controlled process rather than allowing the outsourced storage to become a dumping ground for unwanted records.

Reading this book is a good first step for any records manager considering outsourcing for their records management function, and highlights all the steps in the process which need to be undertaken Of necessity, in a book this size, the emphasis is on “what” needs to be done rather than “how” to do it. Readers will need to look elsewhere for hints on how to carry out some of the processes indicated in the book. However, the content can and should be used as the basis to create the initial project plan.

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